We often think of the CAO’s role as only internal without seeing it more broadly. This is a mistake.  Faculty members are expected to go beyond teaching and research and focus on service, including service outside the institution. CAO’s should also play a role externally in engaging with the community for the betterment of their campus. As often the second highest position on the campus they need to not leave it only the President or Chancellor.

There are several reasons for this. First, the institution should be “of” the community not simply “in” it. In addition to giving students an excellent education and building a strong regional and national research expectation, colleges and universities should be making themselves resources to the communities they serve. Promoting service learning helps achieve this by students working on projects of direct value to governmental, educational, business, and nonprofit organizations. Campuses like Michigan State and The University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) have also built engagement into their RPT guidelines.  Faculty and staff should use their expertise to address community problems, helping build credibility and goodwill. The CAO is in a critical position to fund and support these efforts.